3D Body Scanners: A Growing Trend in Fitness Techology
Fitness, like just about every other part of our life today, has welcomed the digital age. We have a wide array of high-tech fitness toys, from fingerprint scanners to gadgets that monitor and record our heart rate and breathing rates to giant screens that take us to exotic locations as we Spin. The 3D body scanner is considered a game-changer and it’s a growing trend in fitness technology.
When it comes to fitness we tend to focus on our weight as a barometer of how fit we are. When the scale creeps up, we freak out. Health and fitness experts, however, tell us this focus on weight sets us up to fail and is, at best, a misguided and demoralizing method of gauging our overall health.
Muscle weighs more than fat. A common fitness disappointment is when a person diligently exercises, hoping to lose weight, and instead gains it. This doesn’t necessarily mean failure, however. Fat takes up 22% more space than muscle. When fat is lost the effect is noticeable. But if we’re replacing that fat with muscle, that effect is not going to be quite so apparent. This, if not understood, causes discouragement, and we all know how crucial motivation and encouragement is to meeting ANY goal, fitness goals included.
So what is a better way of measuring our fitness?
3D Body Scanners
Wikipedia defines 3D body scanning as an application of various technologies for the ergonomic and anthropometric investigation of the human form as a point-cloud. Some of these technologies include:
- Structured-light 3D Scanners
- 3D Depth Sensing
- Stereoscopic Vision
This scanning technology has been used in sportswear and other apparel design, 3D printed figurines, body shape classification and ergonomic body measurement.
How 3D Body Scanners Work
To understand how the body scanner works, let’s look at a couple of specific examples.
The ShapeScale is a 3D body scanner that uses body scanning to create a 360-degree, 3D image (avatar) of you. This image will also include readings of your body composition stats and measurements. After taking detailed photos of your body ShapeScale combines these images with your actual weight the scanner creates your avatar. This data is then recorded to an app where you can see your information, including:
- Hips Measurement
- Waist Measurement
- Thighs Measurement
- Arms Measurement
- Body Composition
- Body Fat Percentage (broken down by body part)
Another scanner is Naked. This scanner is actually a smart mirror with a scale. You step onto the scale, in front of the mirror, and the scale begins to rotate as the mirror sensors scan your body and calculate your measurements. As with ShapeScale, the information gathered by the scanner is transferred to an app where you can view your information. Naked provides readings on your body fat percentage and side-by-side comparisons.[5
What the Research Shows
John Shepherd, professor of biomedical imaging at the University of California-San-Francisco, states that this type of technology has been around for over two decades. One study conducted in 2016 supported the efficacy of these body scanners, stating the 3D scanners provide accurate readings of body shape and composition.
In another research finding that supports the accuracy of 3D scanning; the researchers concluded that the scanner measures length, circumferences and body volume. The study also concluded that in order to get accurate total-body volume, which measures the percentage of fat present, the subjects must wear close-fitting clothing and be able to stand without moving for 10 seconds while holding their breath.
In a 2017 research study, researchers concluded that body scans show good feasibility, reliability and validity when compared to manual measurements.
Body Scanning Methods
The different forms and versions of 3D body scanners include:
- 3D Body Scannng Booths
- 3D Scanning Cabins
- Full Body Scanners with Rotating Platforms/Turntables
- Smart Mirrors
- Desktop Scanners
- Handheld 3D Scanners
- Wireless Scanners
If you’re interested in learning more about 3D body scanning please see the list below.
Image Credit: Pinterest